Daily Archives: May 28, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 10, 2010

Today’s factoid:

2007, On June 2nd, David Shayler (‘Sheylr’ in Hebrew) a former British M15 secret agent was anointed Messiah. He claims divine power to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and predict football scores.

David the Messiah lives in a squat (SRO in the US) in Surry England as a transvestite he calls “Delores Kane”. The Messiah(ess) recently has been quoted as saying, “I don’t give a fuck what other people think of me, A bloke in a frock is a whole lot less offensive than blowing up innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

More recently it has been reported that during his eviction from his squat, he commented that it did not matter to him since he was “the son of God”‘.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

20,000 mostly Karen tribe people have fled Myanmar (Burma) to escape the fighting raging between the Karen and the Burmese government forces. Many of the Karen refugees have entered Thailand through the crossing point’s I recently visited during my trip with Gun Girl. I would imagine people in “The Town of the Beautiful Children” and the sole soldier manning the “Lonely Outpost” have their hands full just about now.

Further north along the border similar clashes between the Burmese forces and those of the rebel Shan State create additional refugee problems for the Thai government.

Papa Joe’s tales and fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE:

One day during my weekly massage, I asked my masseuse, who I shall call M, to tell me some stories about her life in the massage business. One of her tales follows:

Among her regular customers was an Indian woman. She and her husband were members of the health club in the Bangkok hotel in which M worked. The couple would exercise several times a week and have a massage about once a week. Generally, they both chose male massage therapists, but when two were not available, the woman would request M’s services.

The woman would always ask for the same treatment from M and explained why:

“Every time my husband wants sex.” she explained. “he would start grabbing at my sari, trying to pull it off until I agreed to go to bed with him. He would get on top, move up and down for a few moments, finish, then get up and go into the shower where he would wash and sing happily to himself. After, his shower he would return to the bedroom and ask:

‘Are you happy?’

I being a good wife always nod my head and say, ‘yes very much.”

So as a result .whenever I have a massage, I choose a male masseuse and I tell him that all that I want from him is to mount me like a buffalo and pound me for one half an hour, no more and no less.”

She then explained to M, that she wanted M to massage only one part of her body for precisely one half an hour and instructed M, on the proper placement of M’s fingers and preferred repetitive movement.

At that point I asked M what she thought about all that.

She answered, “My arm hurt a lot, but she gave me a nice tip.”

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

During this time the Padrone system prevailed among the Italian immigrants living in the town. In that system, the owners of the local bars or rooming houses would advance the funds needed to emigrate to the United States to prospective immigrants from certain areas of rural southern Italy. In return the lender required the immigrants to live in rooms usually located above the bar and turn over their wages from the jobs the Padrone arranged for them to pay the Padrone back for the money lent for their passage and for the room and board the Padrone’s provided at his establishment. They were not allowed to eat, drink of live anywhere but at one of the Padrone’s enterprises.

As a result. few immigrants under this system were ever able to pay off their debts to the Padrone. Many were forced into assisting the Padrone in carrying out his other mostly illegal business such as loan sharking, petty theft, protection and the like.

Many of the Padrones affected the fashion of growing long mustaches. The were given the name Mustache Petes. They were the forerunners of the Southern Italian organized crime system that grew up in the American Cities of the Midwest and Northeast twenty or thirty years later.

Neither Joe nor his family were under any obligations to the Mustache Petes of the village. In fact, because of his great, strength, business success and reputation growing out of his murder conviction, he was able to resist their attempts to interfere in his businesses. Because of this, those members of the Italian community independent of the Padrone system begrudgingly admired him and surprisingly eventually elected him town constable. The constable was the villages peace officer since small communities at the time did not have police forces as they do now.

Among the several Mustache Petes, of the village, one emerged to dominate the others. He was called Black Mike. In addition to his role among the Padrone’s of the village, Black Mike operated as an assassin and informer for the larger Italian gangs in nearby New York City and Yonkers. He is reputed to have killed at least 17 men in his career. He also became the oldest man to ever die in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. O...

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. Osborne. Date unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located a little way up the Hudson River on isolated Croton Point.

During the summers when I was a child growing up in the village, I would spend two weeks each year in a county camp for disadvantaged youth located just across the river from Sing Sing. Whenever there was to be an execution at the prison that for some reason were always held in the evening, we would be marched to a point where we could see the prison and its lights as well as the lights of the nearby town of Ossining reflecting on the water. The high point of the night was to watch the lights of the prison and the town dim as the executioner threw the switch. Lesson learned, we were then marched back to our camps.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I’ll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He’s dead. He can’t talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s chart:

Today’s quote:

“On that occasion there was much discussion as to which was the most ambitious, he who wished to preserve power or he who wished to acquire it; as both the one and the other of these motives may be the cause of great troubles. It seems, however, that they are most frequently occasioned by those who possess; for the fear to lose stirs the same passions in men as the desire to gain, as men do not believe themselves sure of what they already possess except by acquiring still more; and, moreover, these new acquisitions are so many means of strength and power for abuses; and what is still worse is that the haughty manners and insolence of the nobles and the rich excite in the breasts of those who have neither birth nor wealth, not only the desire to possess them, but also the wish to revenge themselves by depriving the former of those riches and honors which they see them employ so badly.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, By 3Th. November 8. 2010

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons....

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons. Note the Roman numeral date “MCMIV” at the bottom of the gold medal seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1994, Crayola produced a 16-pack of crayons that released realistic fragrances when used. In 1995, Crayola changed 13 of 16 scents because of complaints received by parents that some of the crayons smelled good enough to eat, like the Cherry, Chocolate, & Blueberry scented crayons. Eventually the 13 crayons with food scents were retired in favor of non-food scents.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Although an international travel magazine lists Bangkok as the best city in the world for tourists, the Thai travel industry continues to lag its rivals in Asia in tourism growth. Spokesmen for the Thai travel industry blame this state of affairs on “political instability” and the current rash of floods.

This all goes to prove Petrillo’s Rule Number 4 for interpreting the news, “a spokesman for any interest will always claim bad news for the interest he represents on someone else.”

The associated Rule Number 6 is, “One can be assured that the media will present the information obtained pursuant to Rule 4 as an “informed source” and never an “opinionated” or “interested” one.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE TALE OF THE RAISING OF THE LINGAM

One day in the late 70’s or early 80’s while sitting around with a friend drinking wine and smoking some dope and discussing mystics, rimpoches, gurus and yogas we had known which is what we aging hippies often did in the late seventies or eighties, my friend who I shall call Peter, told me the following tale:

During the Sixties Peter worked for an American NGO in india. At that time many of the young American guru groupies who frequented the Sub-continent during these times, travelled through the country like locusts. They were usually stoned, broke , homeless, diseased and smelly. Noe and then, some of them would end up camping out in one of the rooms in Peter’s home for a while, bathe, eat some food get a little healthier and move on.

After his stay in India Peter settled down in San Francisco, which was at that time also often the disembarkation point for those returning from their Indian adventures, One day, as could be expected, one of Peter’s previous boarders showed up at his house in not much better shape than Peter had last seen him and again after a few days he moved on.

Now it came to pass, as they say, that about a decade later Peter had the occasion to visit Boston for a few days. His friends, with whom he was staying while in Boston, invited him to a party in the prestigious Beacon Hill neighborhood being thrown in honor of a spiritual teacher and mystic that was all the rage at the time.

It goes without saying that when he arrived at the party Peter discovered the guest of honor, dressed now all in white linen, with long clean hair in a pony tail and a well trimmed beard was his one time guest. The Guru,, recognizing Peter grasped him in a warm embrace. Peter could only ask the obvious “What happened?”

The maharishi as he was now known took Peter aside and told him the following:

After leaving SF and crossing the country by begging on the street corners of many of the nations best cities, he found himself broke, hungry and homeless in Boston with winter coming on and was desperate.

So, he went to the supermarket and with the little money he caged that day, bought some rice. Next he scoured some of the empty lots of Boston for a rock of just the right size and shape. When he found it, he took it and the rice to a local park and between the roots of the tree dug a hole. In the hole he first placed the rice and then on top of the rice he stood up the columnar shaped rock, narrower pointed end up and covered it all with dirt that he carefully patted down so the ground looked natural and undisturbed.

Later that day he went around to as many people that he could, both those that he knew and those that he did not and announced that as a result of his stay in India and years of meditation, he had gained the ability to make the sacred lingam rise from the earth and that at a certain time the next day at the park he would demonstrate his power.

That next day he went into the park. At the appointed time he fell to his knees and began chanting and repeatedly bowing until his head touched the ground. He chanted and chanted, and bowed and bowed each time he bowed he sprinkled a little water. After a while, some on the onlookers became impatient while passers-by stopped to see what was going on.

Suddenly cracks appeared in the ground between the roots of the tree. He continued to chant, bow and sprinkle. Soon the pointed tip of the lingam appeared pushing through the earth. It continued to rise majestically until it stood fully tumescent in the sunlight.

“And that” concluded the swami, “was how it all began”.

Peter could not help himself but to ask, “And what do you make of all that?”

The master thought for a moment and replied, “If you do not use the proper rice your lingam won’t rise.”

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

I thank all those who have commented on my quandary regarding my travel plans. The almost unanimous response seems to be “go for it”.

That being the case, what do I do with my condo? Keep it available for my return? But that would be costly. Give it up? But traveling with even the little amount of junk I have collected here is too much. Sub-lease it?

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe was 17 when he arrived in America with his family. They settled in a little town about sixteen miles north of New York City called Tuckahoe, where somehow his father was able to buy or rent a modest house on Midland Avenue.

Joe’s father (probably named James) I barely remember and his mother I remember as a little wizened, shriveled old woman no more that four feet five inches tall. Their house’s smell always reminded me of old people, slightly musty,garlic and spices.

Joe never learned to read or write and barely learned to speak English his entire life.

His first job in America was as a teamster loading and driving a horse-drawn wagon. About a year after his arrival, Joe was loading his wagon with a co-worker, Joe on the wagon lifting the cargo raised to him by the co-worker. For some reason the co-worker called him a “filthy guinea”. Joe climbed off his wagon and killed him. The stories vary as to whether Joe killed him with his hands or with a knife and whether the victim was black or white.

In any event, Joe fled to Pennsylvania. Why Pennsylvania? I do not know. Maybe at that time it was a better place for fugitives than New Jersey.

After about 6 to 9 months his parents persuaded him to return. They retained a well-known Irish-american defense lawyer. who later became a long serving judge. to defend him. Joe pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge. This is one of the reasons I suspect the victim was black. If it had been a white man he probably would have to plead to no less than murder 2 since at the time the only thing lower on the social scale than the italian immigrant was a black man (In modern times, the Italians have been replaced in by Latinos). Anyway, Joe served his time and was released in about a year.

Upon his return, he found that as a felon and an illiterate he could not get a job. He began walking along the sides of the railroad tracks that ran through the village picking up the bits and pieces of coal that fell off the coal tenders of the steam locomotives as they went by the Tuckahoe station. When he had picked up enough coal he would go from door to door in the village selling the coal at a low price to the residents for heat. After several months of this he amassed enough capital to open up a business selling coal, oil and kerosene. The business prospered.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”
The Princess Bride.

2. Today’s very last album cover (I promise):

I am almost at a loss for words. This is either a satire or an insult to balding men, men with scraggly beards, hairy white men, white men, men with hairy belly-buttons as well as the women who love them. It is also an insult to homosexuals, flute players, baseball players, musicians of all kinds, nudists, copy writers and graphic artists. Also, he looks to me a lot like Nicholas Cage.

Today’s quote:

“A battle that you win cancels any other bad action of yours. In the same way, by losing one, all the good things worked by you before become vain.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 7, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1968 – A divorced Dutchman named Louwrens Voorthuijzen who proclaimed himself God and renamed himself  “Lou the Eel Vendor”, died. He mixed marketing European eels with proselytism. His followers considered him a living God on a mission against evil.

Petrillo’s dyspeptic advice for the unwary traveller in Thailand:

Always remember, nothing is what it seems.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

Pookie awoke the next morning feeling not much better than he had the night before. Nevertheless, he got up and went out to have breakfast because he thought it would be best to get some food into his stomach even if he could not keep it all down.

At the café he thought about how lucky he was to get sick while at the pharmacy and not somewhere else and how fortunate it was that the pharmacist was so kindly.

He also began to contemplate the decision that had been plaguing him for a while, whether to remain here in Paradise by the Sea or return to the US, at least briefly. It did not appear that his preference to drift and allow circumstance to decide for him was going to save him the trouble of figuring out what to do.

His plan was to travel to the US in late November of early December, remain there for two weeks or so and visit with family and friends that he was finding he missed more and more. He could also see, for perhaps the last time, his mom, now 91 years old and living is a rest home. Toward the end of the month he would travel to Italy with Hayden and stay in Milan until H’s mom returns from visiting her parents and boy friends in Thailand. Then he could return to Thailand or go to Ghana, Ecuador or another low-cost jurisdiction.

But it all ment too much planning and effort for him. What about his apartment? Give it up and perhaps lose the opportunity to live in a place he had grown accustomed to? What about the hassle of Thai Immigration again? And finally there was the cost. He would have to dip into his meager savings. What to do” What to do?

He finished his breakfast, went for a brief stroll along the beach and returned to his apartment, feeling exhausted. He laid on his bed trying to deal with these matters as well his feelings of inadequacy to do so. Eventually he drifted off to sleep. The last words he recalled bouncing around in his mind were “Tomorrow is another day.” And indeed it will be.

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT,)

JOE

Although this story is mostly about Joey, me, it is appropriate that it begins with my grandfather Joe or Peppino as he was sometimes called, because of the shadows that his life and legends cast upon the family, especially me. I always considered him as heroic character. A view not shared by everyone, especially his wife Elisa and my mother.

Joe was a big man. Not as tall as most Americans, but above average for italian immigrants of the time. He was the ideal mesomorph, broad and blocky with heavy strong muscles. His body looked a lot like that of Rocky Marciano the undefeated Italian-American Heavyweight boxer. This physical type is not uncommon in the mountains surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

These mountain people differed in culture and history from those people who lived in the lowlands. They were probably the original inhabitants driven into the highlands by the waves of invaders that swept across the mediterranean basin for thousands of years. There they remained undefeated except by economic adversity. The mountains were harsh and unproductive, good only for the herding sheep and goats and the hiding of the smugglers and brigands who provided additional sustenance to the meager resources available to these mountain people.

Joe was born in a small village called Prato on the slopes of Mt. Vergene in the mountains above Naples. Prato is not far from Avellino a largish mountain town. I know little about the town, never having visited it. The little I do know I learned from uncle Aldo, my fathers youngest brother, who visited it shortly after the Second World War and found the partisans and fascists still shooting at one another as though the war continued unabated. He left quickly. As far as I know no one in our immediate family has ever visited the village since.


.
Prato

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” 
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s album cover:

(I don’t know what to say.)

Today’s quote:

” War makes thieves, and peace hangs them.”
Nicolo Machiavelli The Art of War

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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